Knowing how to meal prep makes it easy to stay on your low carb diet. An hour or two on the weekend can keep you in budget friendly, low carb meals all week long. Once you get used to it you can even prep for a month at a time! The low carb recipes you make are SO much tastier than the frozen ones you grab at the store and you’ll almost always get more food for fewer carbs and calories, too.
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What Is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping is just a trendy phrase for planning and creating your meals ahead of time. Some people prep for a day, some for a week, and others manage to get it all done for a month at a time! If you’ve ever practiced Once a Month Cooking you’ve already done it! Don’t worry if you haven’t, though. This is so easy and once you get started you’ll love the time you save AND the quality and variety of your meals!
Best Time to Meal Prep
Many people meal prep on Sunday afternoons. It’s just kind of a logical time since you are mentally preparing for the week ahead anyway. Once you know how to meal prep and have some practice at it you’ll be faster. It will take you about 2 to 3 hours max. Trust me, I can do it in an hour. If you feel like things are taking too long you can split up chores into two days.
If you are doing meal prep for two weeks or a month you’ll definitely want to split some of the chores up so you don’t lose an entire day off.
How to Meal Prep the Easy Way
I like to cook a batch of chicken breast and a pot roast then use those proteins for my meals. I change the meals up by using different additions. For example, this week I had pot roast with cauliflower mash and buttered green beans for one meal and beef pozole verde for another. Both used the pot roast so the hardest part of putting the dishes together was done. I would have done more meals with the beef but my family ate the rest of it. LOL!
Try to do one kind of preparation at a time. For example, both the cauliflower mash and the pozole use cauliflower so I made enough to handle both recipes. Green beans go with the pot roast and cauliflower mash but they also go with the green bean casserole and chicken breast I’m looking forward to. Use as many of the same ingredients in different ways as you can.
While you’re learning how to meal prep stick with easy recipes. I’ll link to a few at the end of this post and I’ll be posting my slow cooker beef pot roast and beef pozole recipes over the next week. Almost anything can be made ahead of time.
Make a Menu
Make a menu to keep things organized and use ingredients in the most efficient ways possible. I have to have a varied diet or I will cave to what my family is eating. I have a son who lives away from home who cooks up a batch of chicken breast in the slow cooker and eats it every day. Know your limits and what you an handle.
Pinterest makes it super easy to make meal prep menus. I have a secret board and I save low carb recipes to it regularly. When I am ready to make my menu I just open up the board and make my choices. If the recipe was a dud I delete it from the board… it’s just that simple.
Invest in Good Containers
Good containers make all the difference. You can get them with divided compartments or with just one compartment. Either is fine but I prefer the type with just one compartment. It makes it more versatile as far as I’m concerned because I can use it for stews, soups, or plain meat dishes with sides. Since I like stews and all-in-one casseroles a lot I always go for the single compartment types.
Make sure they are BPA free and food safe!
Recipes for Meal Prep
These are just some of the possibilities!
Put several pounds of chicken breast in the slow cooker and you’ve got plenty of cooked chicken when you get home from work!
Arroz con Pollo – just season the already cooked chicken
Chipotle Chicken Chowder (don’t freeze)
Put a pot roast in the slow cooker, make a couple of batches of meatballs, cook several pounds of ground beef
Low Carb American Goulash (you can substitute pot roast for ground beef if you’re not doing ground beef meals)
Low Carb Meatballs (It’s great to have a couple of batches of these on hand in the freezer)
Low Carb Shepherd’s Pie (use either cooked ground beef or cooked pot roast)
Putting Your Meal Together
You know how to meal prep theoretically but if you want to see how I do it step by step read on.
So, I have all of the meat cooked. I have the cauliflower cooked and ready to go. Other ingredients are on hand to be used as needed. Let’s use the pozole verde, pot roast, and goulash as examples.
- Measure out the cooked meat for each recipe and set it aside in separate bowls.
- I am having green beans as a side with the pot roast and the goulash so I cook enough for 6 servings.
- Each recipe uses cauliflower so I add it all together and cook it at once. 2 cups + 1 cup + 1 cup.
- Since the goulash requires larger pieces of cauliflower I leave the cauliflowerettes large while I steam them.
- I saute peppers and onions for the goulash.
- Both the goulash and the pozole verde need canned tomatoes so I decide to use Ro*tel for both. Since the pozole needs only a tablespoon I just take it from the goulash without worrying about replacing it.
- Next I take half the cauliflower and mix the ingredients for the goulash together then put it in 5 meal prep containers since it’s a big batch.
- I add a serving of green beans to each container, cover, and set aside.
- Chop half of the remaining cauliflower in smaller, pea sized pieces for the pozole.
- I mix up the ingredients for the pozole right in the food prep container, leaving the cheese and other toppings off. They’ll be added after I heat it up for dinner.
- The pot roast goes in a meal prep container, the remaining cauliflower gets mashed and added to the container, and finally the green beans are added.
- The containers that I’ll be eating in the next day or two go in the refrigerator and the rest go in the freezer.
Meal Prep Is Easy!
That’s it! I usually take the containers out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator the night before. It makes them quicker and easier to heat up.
Be sure to check back on Thursday. I’ll be posting the pot roast recipe – it’s so good!
Any questions about how to meal prep?